Sleeping around: Gritty sex

'My first thought once we're intimate is: how long before I can get kinky?'

I often let my fantasies run wild in bed. Right before the moment of orgasm I could be thinking of anyone from Angelina Jolie to a random guy from work, or a snippet of girl-on-girl action I saw on YouPorn.

But recently I got a shock when I closed my eyes when I was with a new man and the person who popped into my head was my ex, Charles.

I'm not sure whether it's pheromones, facial recognition or some kind of twisted Darwinian logic, but for some reason it's often the guys who are least well-suited emotionally who fit the bill sexually. Charles was clearly bad for me, yet I was was irresistibly drawn to him.

People often make generalisations that women want romance, and men want gritty sex.

This may be true in some cases, but personally, when I meet a new man, my first thought once we are intimate is: how long before I can start to get kinky without scaring the hell out of him? Charles didn't run, even when I pulled out the male sex toys. In fact, he took control.

We didn't have long chats about our feelings, or take sensual bubble baths together. But he understood that I want rape fantasies, not rose petals. I crave hair pulling, nail-scratching, heart-pounding sex.

He used to text me in the middle of the afternoon with explicit instructions about what to wear usually very tall stilettos, a corset and lacy knickers. He would describe in detail how he planned to bend me over the chair, spanking me and telling me that how much I loved it. And I did.

My dates since Charles haven't quite matched up. I've tried to re-create our hot afternoons, most recently by asking a lovely British man who adores me to talk dirty in the heat of the moment. "Baby, how does that feel?" I asked, as I climbed on top of him. And what was his response? "Rather inviting".

Attraction is complex, and often unconscious. Since I'm so used to taking control in every other social and sexual situation, I'm drawn to men who make me feel vulnerable and know how to take charge. And because Charles was 6ft 5in and lean, we were a great match physically.

I have had ex-boyfriends tell me that they were freaked out by the idea of BDSM-style sex because it "wasn't intimate".

But I think that the most intimate moments happen naturally, when you have a brilliant conversation, catch the flu for the first time and take care of each other, or brave the comfortable silence during a car road trip.

Trite romantic rituals like Valentine's Day and moonlit cruises don't turn me on they leave me cold because they seem so forced. I've even tried Tantric sex, and I just find it boring. Who the hell has the time?

I'm much more into the spontaneous, filthy banter that Charles and I perfected. Still, I haven't given up on the new guy. Last night, when we were at dinner at he told me how lovely I was, I whispered: "Actually, I can be a filthy slut. Fancy tying me to the bed face down and spanking me?"

He smiled and raised an eyebrow. "That sounds lovely, darling. We'll definitely do that after the coffee."

Hey, it's a start.